Vatican Note on Reliquary of John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is the communiqué published by the Vatican press office on the reliquary of Pope John Paul II, which will be displayed during his beatification ceremony Sunday.

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The reliquary that will be displayed for the veneration of the faithful, on the occasion of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, is a small ampoule of his blood contained within a precious reliquary that the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has prepared expressly for the occasion. It is opportune to explain briefly, but precisely, the origin of this reliquary.

During the last days of the Holy Father's illness, his entrusted medical personnel extracted blood to be held at the transfusion center of the Bambino Gesu Hospital, in the case of an eventual transfusion. This center, under the direction of Professor Isacchi, was effectively entrusted with this medical service for the Pope.

Nevertheless, there was no transfusion and the extracted blood remained conserved in four small containers, two of which were left to Pope John Paul II's personal secretary, Cardinal Dziwisz, the other two remaining at Bambino Gesu, devotedly looked after by the hospital's religious staff. For the beatification it is precisely these last two which have been placed in two reliquaries.

The first will be presented for the veneration of the faithful during the beatification ceremony, 1 May, and later will be kept in the "Sacrario", in the charge of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, together with other important reliquaries. The second will be returned to the care of the Bambino Gesu Hospital, whose religious staff have safeguarded this precious relic throughout these years.

The blood is in a liquid state, which is explained by an anti-coagulant substance present in the test tubes at the moment of extraction.